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Jeep to revamp Cherokee for 2018

Face off: The controversial design of the Jeep Cherokee is likely to be toned down significantly for the mid-cycle update.

Mature design and maybe optional seven seats could broaden Jeep Cherokee’s appeal

24 Nov 2016


JEEP is expected to reveal a comprehensively facelifted Cherokee in North America later next year or in early 2018, bringing a toned-down look outside, a big interior upgrade and improved powertrain efficiencies.

A seven-seater version might also be in the pipeline, opening the Cherokee to a new set of consumers who seek an occasional extra row in their mid-size SUV.

Speaking to the Australian journalists at the Los Angeles motor show last week, the global head of the Jeep brand Mike Manley admitted that a seven-seater medium SUV would make his shortlist of additional models he’d like to see in Jeep’s portfolio, next to a sub-Renegade baby SUV.

“The only thing after that I would next look at is a good three-row mid-sized Jeep,” he said.

“If you look at, for example, what Toyota has done with its three-row (SUV), Ford has just announced a three-row Edge (it’s in China now but I know they will take that vehicle elsewhere), Hyundai has a three-row, and Kia has a three-row… (it’s clear that) families have migrated away from (mini)vans, but still occasionally need a three-row that’s useable.

“It’s got to be a market that we have to look at.”

While Jeep’s head of design, Mark Allen, said that the next Cherokee’s design will be considerably less divisive than today’s version, he added that the model did exactly what it was supposed to do – stand out in a crowded medium SUV space.

“The Cherokee’s styling was meant to be intentionally disruptive,” he told GoAuto. “So we have no regrets in making it look the way it does it did what it was meant to do. It was meant to shake people up. But the next one will have the legs.”

Though little is known about the changes the 2018 Cherokee may receive, it is rumoured that all the powertrains – from the 130kW/229Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, 200kW/316Nm 3.2-litre V6, and 125kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel – will undergo significant upgrades to improve both performance and efficiency.

There will be alterations to the maligned nine-speed automatic transmission, while steering and suspension revisions are said to provide better on-road dynamics and feel.

Along with the Sport, Longitude (Latitude outside of Australia) and Limited, the Cherokee will continue with the off-road capable Trailhawk, offering a unique proposition for consumers if the speculated seven-seater variant sees the light of day.

The existing, KL-series Cherokee created a sensation when it was unveiled at the 2013 New York motor show, providing a complete departure from its unloved KK-series Liberty predecessor.

Besides possessing startling styling, it was built on an Alfa Romeo (Giulietta) derived car platform, and introduced (an ultimately controversial) nine-speed automatic transmission.

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